NXNE 2006 FILM FESTIVAL at the Royal (608 College) and NFB (150 John), June 8-11. Free with $28 NXNE wristband. www.nxne.com. Rating: NNNNN
In the six years that the North By Northeast music conference has run a concurrent music film mini-fest, the quality of submissions has steadily improved.
It's still largely about the documentaries, but NXNE 2006 has made some higher-profile scores, like the Canadian premiere of Stewart Copeland 's Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out -- a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to roll with one of the world's biggest rock bands.
The CBC's Jian "J-Gho" Ghomeshi does an onstage interview with Cope-land at the Holiday Inn June 10 at 4:30 pm before the 9 pm gala screening at the Royal Cinema.
It may come as no great shock that before hooking up with Elvis Presley, Col. Tom Parker worked as a carnival huckster, but that doesn't even scrape the surface of what Dutch filmmaker Constant Meijers uncovers in her probing investigation, Searching For Col. Parker , which screens at the NFB June 9 at 12:30 pm.
If Calexico and Giant Sand are more your speed, Michael Toubassi 's High And Dry: Where The Desert Meets Rock 'N' Roll (June 9, 2 pm) offers an informative look at how Tucson's lively music scene developed from the punk era to the present day and explores why Arizona bands have been so consistently out of step with popular trends.
While the terms "legendary" and "influential" apply to the Real Kids , the kick-ass Boston rockers led by singer/songwriter John Felice were never able to parlay their critical acclaim into a sustainable career. Cheryl Eagan-Donovan 's unvarnished retelling of the tragic John Felice story, All Kindsa Girls (June 9 at 7 pm), makes good use of vintage footage and talking-head-style interviews with Felice's ex-bandmates, family members, concert promoters and Beantown scene celebs like Willie Alexander and next-door neighbour Jonathan Richman to help explain why the promising Real Kids aren't a household name.
Perhaps the film with the best shot at being the sleeper hit of this year's festival is J.L. Aronson 's Danielson: A Family Movie (June 11 at 5:30 pm), which presents the strange, fable-like story of Christian rocker Daniel Smith and the Danielson Famile. But in the process, the film becomes more about how the Famile's adopted son, Sufjan Stevens , used the group to launch his own hugely successful solo career while Smith is left to toil in relative obscurity, dressed as a tree.